Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Michael R. Fitzgerald

Committee Members

David Houston, Suzanne Allard, Patricia Freeland


This study expands on previous work that focused on explaining motivations for joining the military in the United States. Using the prominent theory of public service motivation (PSM) found in public administration, I surveyed American military veterans currently pursuing post-secondary education to see if this theory helps explain why people join the military in much the same way that the theory helps explain why people join the civil service. My research includes multiple demographics, including those who served in the different military branches within the Department of Defense; those who served active duty, reserve, and national guard; officers vs. enlisted personnel; males vs. females; and combat vs. combat support military occupational specialties. This study contributes to the literature that explains why people are motivated to serve in the public sector in America.

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